Booker T. Washington founded the Tuskegee Institute in 1881 in Macon County, Alabama. The Institute directed much of its energy towards economic and educational uplift. By the 1940s, the city of Tuskegee boasted a substantial Black middle class, supported by the school, which offered professional employment opportunities for Blacks that didn’t exist elsewhere in the deep South. Racial discrimination persisted, however, both in the city and in the surrounding county. In the 1960s, students formed the Tuskegee Institute Advancement League (TIAL) and initiated protests in downtown Tuskegee as well as aided SNCC’s voter registration projects in the Alabama Black Belt.